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Roosevelt remains stagnant with ‘POLYDANS’

By Conner Tighe After he released his first EP, Elliot, German singer-songwriter Roosevelt began his synth-pop journey, putting him in the same ranks as other DJ artists today like Mark Ronson and Poolside. He wanted to bring back club culture through dance music inspired by the 80s in his latest album release, so it was exciting when Roosevelt announced his album POLYDANS, which sports an 80s color palette aesthetic on the cover. However, having listened through the 10-layered tracklist, I found there to be little if any new material, which hindered his latest EP Lovers, released on Feb. 12. I allowed some leeway with Lovers since he was close to releasing POLYDANS then, but after over 40 minutes of synth-pop lyrics and rhythm, I found myself disappointed.

Seeing double

Although Roosevelt is unwavering in his rhythms and tracks overall, it’s something that’s engrained in his brand and made him recognizable. The artist is skilled in meshing the fun and catchy rhythms of the 80s and 90s while speaking DJ alongside the music. Fans would and should expect something new, something fresh, and something relatively different and inventive even if it fails. Roosevelt did none of these things unless you count the tracks “Montjuic,” “Closer to my Heart,” and “Easy Way Out,” which were quite decent in their presentation. The tracks were fast-paced, full of life, and temporary detours from the lack of originality displayed in the tracklist. Roosevelt’s tedious attempts to differentiate any of his albums and EPs will undoubtedly hurt his career in the long run as there’s little to look forward to with new releases. The artist releases singles from time to time which are admirable and perform excellently, but he didn’t take that leap of faith by changing things up here. It’s smart and worthwhile at times to create a staple for yourself, especially in the music industry, like Ariana Grande and her high-whistle vocals or Chance the Rapper’s maximization of choir and gospel undertones. However, Roosevelt is digging himself into a pigeonhole of stagnancy and unoriginality. When an artist gets into a genre like synth-pop or DJ-influenced music, they run the risk of lacking originality and getting stuck in a pattern of similar-sounding tracks. Even those who haven’t been fans of the singer long can begin to witness the forming pattern of unoriginality. Like many artists today, Grande and Chance rely on the traditional spoken word and lyrics to assist their music. Roosevelt has lyrics, but they don't have any real substance, and I think that comes automatically with being in this genre.

A fun tracklist

There’s an undeniable aspect of entertainment in POLYDANS; listeners should keep Roosevelt in mind when in need of background music or something to lighten the mood. No track diminishes the overall sense of fun, and that’s what keeps this tracklist from sinking. I found myself surprised with the introduction of electric guitar in “Closer to My Heart,” which I guess I overlooked in previous tracks. “Closer to My Heart” is the “heart” of the tracklist as it’s one of the few fresh tracks and is catchy in its presentation. There are some undertones of love with the basic guitar backup, which always gets me.

Top tracks:

Easy Way Out Closer to my Heart Montjuic

Recommended if you like:

Spencer Brown Mark Ronson Goldroom
Sources: Indie Is Not a Genre, Byte, AOTY, Spotify, City Slang Featured Image: Genius